Data security: had a computer breakdown at work?

Every business now relies on computers to some extent- but how much data on your customers, suppliers, staff and other contacts does your system keep stored?


Very few people realise exactly how much data is retrievable from even a badly damaged hard drive. In fact, besides the very different experts working on either sides of the law, almost nobody truly appreciates how much information can be retrieved from a computer. Despite the prevalence of computers, mobile phones, tablets, laptops and smart technology in everything from watches to cars to TVs, public understanding has not kept up. When massive data breaches appear in the news, people struggle to understand how so much data can be lost, stolen or sold, all too often ending up in the wrong hands. If you’re responsible for others’ data security, this is your concern, and without taking action you could be liable for any loss or theft. That includes taking the right action if a workplace computer, tablet or phone is broken & replaced. Protecting personal, customer or business data on your workplace devices is now more important than ever thanks to the arrival of GDPR regulations in May. Since then, the approach companies take to managing old equipment has fundamentally changed. If you have a broken or obsolete computer, mobile phone, tablet or other device, it’s now up to your staff, supervised by the designated data protection officer, to ensure that the old hardware is properly processed to remove all secure data before being disposed of. While many companies are now aware of the requirements of GDPR in areas such as IT upgrades, data management and secure storage, all too often business fail to understand the gaps in their security- broken equipment is a common example.

Did you know:

  • Photocopiers, scanners and printers often contain a hard drive (often unencrypted on older machines) which can contain details of every item processed by that machine. This can be accessed easily by hackers even if the machine itself is broken.
  • The average cost of a data breach to an SME is estimated by the British chamber of commerce as being between £75,000 and £311,000.
  • Company phone systems can contain huge banks of unencrypted data including voicemails, customer phone numbers, and location information.
  • Shockingly, one in five UK SMEs has been the target of a recent cyber-attack.
  • Most importantly: data on a broken device is still retrievable. Not disposing of broken hardware correctly puts you at risk to the same degree as working hardware.

Fortunately AssetCare provides a secure, self-contained system of data destruction services, from a state of the art hard drive wipe to secure hard drive destruction, culminating in the remarketing or recycling of remaining hardware. By using AssetCare to dispose of your IT, you can be confident that the complete process of GDPR-compliant data destruction can be managed from our secure facility from start to finish.